Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived on Wednesday on a four-day visit to Maldives during which he will attend the SAARC Summit and have a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani.

On arrival at the Gan International Airport, Dr. Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur were received by Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed and his wife and were given a warm welcome.

Dr. Singh also inspected a guard of honour by the Maldivian forces.

Later, he left by a special speed boat to the hotel where he will stay during the two-day SAARC summit, which begins tomorrow in Addu Islands.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to meet Mr. Gilani on Thursday.

The MFN issue is likely to come up during the talks between the two Premiers and a clarity on it may emerge after some sort of flip-flop on the part of Islamabad in explaining the decision.

The two Prime Ministers are also expected to review progress in bilateral ties.

They last met in March when Mr. Gilani accepted Dr. Singh’s invitation to watch the India-Pakistan cricket World Cup semifinal in Mohali. Their last formal talks took place during the 2010 SAARC summit in Bhutan.

The Foreign Secretaries of the two countries, who are already in Maldives, met yesterday to discuss bilateral issues and matters relating to the prime ministerial meeting.

Ranjan Mathai and Salman Bashir expressed satisfaction on the engagement process and agreed that “stable, normal and predictable” ties were in their interest as well as of the region.

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